Review: Strip: The Making of a Feminist

Saturday, 13 January 2018
Strip: The Making of a Feminist Strip: The Making of a Feminist by Catlyn Ladd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strip provides readers with a fascinating insight into the mind of an exotic dancer from a performer turned academic and through its depiction, the story realises strong feminist and liberal ideologies. Highly recommended!

From the outset, I found the author’s insight into her experiences very surprising. I expected sleazy men and drunk bachelors and what we find within the pages of this book are the complete opposite. In some cases, we’re introduced to intelligent men seeking the company of equally intelligent women and lonely men trying to find their way in life and turning to the dancers as a form of therapy. Each chapter introduces readers to a new patron and you start to see the types of men who frequent these clubs. I found the way the author broke her story down enlightening as each chapter challenged my perceptions and expectations.

The dancers we meet were a mixed bag of personalities and each evidently performed for different reasons. There is clearly a calling to be looked upon as an idol and this in some cases leads to a desperate search to find create the perfect body. With rich patrons willingly offering up cash for these girls to further improve their looks, you can’t help but wonder if these men are feeding off the dancers’ insecurities by funding their desires or if the women have the upper hand and use the men for their own purposes.

Despite the competitive nature of this job, the women clearly share a bond. Referred to a “fresh meat” when starting out, most women would start waving the feminist flag aloft at the perceived slight to their gender and yet these dancers took the term in their stride. It is clear from the outset that these women either simply discount the opinions of men or are happy to simply play their part as a means to an end, as was clearly the case with the author who simply danced for enjoyment and to fund her academic studies never questioning her looks or actions.

At the end of the book, the author sets out a series of questions designed to further challenge our opinions on the empowerment of women, gender equality and class economics. Although written in part as a biography, this story also delves into current research on exotic dancing and the author uses critical commentary in order to challenge the preconceptions of readers by presenting the facts in a way to allow readers to form their own opinions.

This ebook was kindly provided by the author/publisher via Netgalley prior to release in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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